Dark Inky in color with a short reddish rim. Fruity nose with black currants, blackberries, ripe figs, wood, spices, licorice, chocolates, mocha, caramel, light vanilla, tobacco, light alcohol and peppercorn. Full bodied and smooth with medium acidity and long legs. Dry and fruity on the palate with blackberries, plums, cherries, currants, oak, vanilla, licorice, spices, […]

via Austin Hope Winery Troublemaker Red Blend Non-Vintage, Central Coast California — Odedi’s Wine Reviews Blog

The Holidays require me to open up the cabinets and put out the best for dinner.  This year brought about a dilemma, choosing one.  After careful consideration and consultation with the wife (who enjoys researching the wines), I chose Moone Tsai Napa cab 2009.  Needless to say it was a good choice.  Known as one of the “Rock Stars” of the wine world, he has solidified his reputation with Moone Tsai and his own Melka brands. He studied under some of the great wine makers of Bordeaux and Napa. Now he produces some of the best and highly sought after wines in Napa.

2009 was by all known as a great year-pretty much world wide.  Moone Tsai exhibits all of the reasons why.  Full bodied, highly aromatic balanced and intense.  I decanted for three hours–just as an FYI.

As soon as I opened the bottle I thought I had been transported back to the Garden of Eden.  Wow, just wow. the aromas took over the house, who needs pot pouri.  I could close my eyes and feel that I have been transported.

The dark juice that pours into the glass only hints at what is to come.  Slowly the juice draws into my mouth.  Instantly the saliva flows.  Oh my my.  So many flavors all at once.  Licorice, cassis, and oh so many berries.  My right leg started to shake.  Raspberry, blueberry, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coffee, it just seemed as the kitchen pantry of spices and the fruit keeper were all passing through my senses at once.    The finish was long and in depth, never missing a single flavor note.  (I think I can still taste it).  By decanting for so long I had reduced the tannins and really opened up the flavors.  I took a single sip when it was first opened and it was definitely tight.  But the decanting process really just opened it up and softened it all around.   Pairing it with rare prime rib was just the ticket.

Hope you all had a joyous Christmas.  Cheers and



you see my choices.  All very very very good wines, and of course the prime rib.

Oh the Holidays are here.  To most people this means a time of culinary delights, festive parties, and family.  Yea that all sounds fantastic. To me and people in all retail or service it is a time of crowded stores, long hours, little sleep and in general high blood pressure.  But, the constant fast pace, and in my case, all that great wine I get to recomend and really interesting people who are looking for the perfect treat to compliment the Holiday table, it can be alot of fun. (How was that for a looong run on sentence). 

So that brings me to the number one question I am asked, “What wine should I serve with…..?”.    Now mind you the vast majority of people already have an idea of what they want, they just want an affirmation.  But, when people do seriously have no idea what to serve the standard go to is Pinot Noir, Burgundy, or Riesling and because it is that time of year I must throw in Beaujolais Nouveau. These wines usually pair very well with turkey or ham and are usually easy drinking and will satisfy a majority.  There are those you can never please, and to those I say NEVER INVITE THEM BACK.  After all they are getting free wine.  

Just  a few basics for some of the most popular varietals.  

Pinot Noir

One of the lightest red wines.  It is usually fruity, strawberry, raspberry and light cherry with light tannins.  Burgundian styles are usually earthy, and fuller bodied.  Some can even develop that barnyardy style, but don’t let that fool you the flavor is fantastic.  

Some of the best areas are in Califofrnia, Carneros and RRV,  Oregon, the Willamette valley and in New Zealand.  And of course France, the Burgundy region.  

A  favorite from the Willamette Valley. 


Often thought of as a sweet wine there are many great dry Rieslings.  German Rieslings come in 5 sweetness categories; Kabinett- dry to off dry, Spatlese- sweet, Auslese-sweeter, Beerenauslese- very sweet, and Trockenbeerenauslese- super sweet.  Alsace wines tend to be more dry to off dry.  In the states Rieslings are more to the off dry with the exception of course of the LHR the sweet dessert wines.  Washington State offers some of the best choices fro domestic wines, with New York state, and South Africa producing some very nice choices.  

Sweet Rieslings have a nutty, honey flavor.  A pepper or spice finish is common, and they are of course sweet.  Dry Rieslings are crisp, light and elegant.   They go great with turkey or ham and work well with vegetarian meals too. (Not that I would know, GIVE ME THE MEAT).  Below is one of my favorites, an off dry from Germany, Dr. Heideman’s. 

Beaujolais Nouveau is “The first wine of the harvest”. A Southern burgundy wine ( it was expelled from Northern Burgundy as an inferior grape).  Made from Gamay it is light and fruity.  It is not too sophisticated, but it can be quite good.  Gewurtztraminer is another favorite.  It is also dry, off dry and sweet.  Hailing from Germany, Austria, Alsace and from California and becoming more common around the world. It is very aromatic and tastes of honey and a spice finish.  

What it really comes down too is choosing what you like.  Enjoying your family and friends and giving thanks for all your blessings.  What ever wine you choose – count your blessings and be Thankful. 

Happy Thanksgiving 

  • Enjoy 

This past weekend we celebrated my wife’s birthday.  No I will not discuss age, I still want to see another day.

Dinner was a magnificent treat made by some new, dear friends as a surprise.  Pork chops and broccoli.  Literally the best chops I had ever eaten.  Fresh hand cut chops straight from the butcher, brined in seasonings including molasses.  Wow what a treat.

I picked the wine for the evening.  I wanted something special, I chose a 2007 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet.  I had been saving  this one, oh was it well worth the wait.  David Tate is the winemaker at Barnett, and man what an artist he is.  Tongue-gasms (yes my made up word, but you get the meaning).  The wine opens a bouquet that just fills the room.  Oh my.  The anticipation of the things to come.  The color-rich, deep, dark purple.  Just adds to the magnificence of the wine. (big words now).  Big words are indeed needed to express the flavor of this wine.  The lush juice immediately hits your tongue, all kinds of berry.  Blackberry, cherry, currant and licorice with a very long finish, a very long finish, let me say again, a very long finish.  Little notes of spice, pepper and very light tannins-yes it is 10 years old.  The exceptional fruit forward but very balanced style of this wine is well-EXCEPTIONAL.  One of the best wines you will ever have at any price.


Usually this is where I end.  I am after all a wine blogger, (well I try to be).  But tonight, even with this magnificent specimen before me, one of the best wines I have ever had, from one of the most spectacular vineyards your eyes could ever behold, (if you have the chance to visit the vineyards- it is as close to the garden of Eden that a mere mortal will ever have-please go).

But tonight, Sorry Mr. Tate, you were upstaged by a 14 year old and a purple cake.  As I stated before it was my wife’s birthday celebration.  Our friends had prepared the fore mentioned meal.  Too top it off their 14 year old son (yes 14) made her a birthday cake.  A wondrous sight to behold, three colors of purple, 3 tiers of chocolate.  Extraordinary.  I am not a baker, so I cannot do justice to the intricacies of creating such a piece of art.  I can only say that it was the most beautiful cake I have ever seen, and one of the most delicious too.

I hope that someday the two artists of this evening will have the chance to meet and share their respective art.  But until then, I will.